About The Artist
George 'Hillbilly' Mahoney was one of the early country music performers in the Boston - New England area, perhaps starting in the late 1920s / early 1930s.
Around 1946, he obtained a lease and ran a property in Webster, Massachusetts that became known as "Indian Ranch". He ran the ranch until 1957 when he retired. The property owner at that time took over the opeations of the venue for about a year before selling out to the Sadowski family. They owned the property until the early 2000s and sold the property. Indian Ranch is still going and and is thought to be the longest running such venue in New England; perhaps even the whole country.
Prior to buying the Indian Ranch property, he was part of an act called "George and Juanita" and appearing on the Pinecrest Ranch shows. Juanita left to join her fiddling brother, Buddy Durham in Maine. Then George hired his first "Dixie" and began an act known as "George and Dixie". This first Dixie was Evelyn Holmgren, who later married one of George's band members, Emo Sulkosky (also known as Emo Carter). Jean Lyons was then hired to be the next 'Dixie' in George's band.
Juanita married Tony Tarquinio, formed a group with her brother Buddy and after World War II, were working in Maine. Buddy then decided to embark on a solo career effort.
George entertained the audiences listening over the Yankee Network, over radio station WNAC out of Boston.
We have in our collection an old newspaper clipping about George and Dixie that indicates their broadcasts on the Yankee Network for the Yankee House Party was being heard over WNAC at 11:30pm. The article mentions that George had been a part of WNAC since 1931. It stated that George came from the "rolling plains of Cambridge" where he was born. His voice may have been familiar to many or reminded them of places they once were. The article mentions George would get letters from fans who thought they knew him "...out west...". In fact, at that point, he had never been no farther west than the Capitol Theatre in Albany.
At the time the undated article was written, George had been entertaining folks for 18 years. He was said to be adept at not only the guitar, but also the trumpet, ukulele, harmonica, piano, banjo and mandolin. He was five feet four inches and only an inch taller than Dixie, who was 22 at the time the article appeared.
The article gives us a flavor of how they were received or if they were able to do a bit of their own publicists work, a bit of how they wanted to be perceived:
"Their lack of stature doesn't handicap them when they reach for high notes in their yodeling, however, and they are ranked among the best hillbily singers in radio.
Credits & Sources
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